Never-ending Relationships

No, I don’t want to register to read your online publication. It’s not just that I don’t want to pay you — I am willing to pay for publications I read regularly, though I want to be sure something’s worth it before I commit any money — it’s that I don’t want to set up another account.

I want to read news from a variety of sources, but I don’t want to sign up for every individual one, give every one of them access to some data from me — and no matter how conscientiously I try to eliminate all the data a site collects, I know they’re getting a lot.

Likewise, I don’t want to download your app. I don’t need a different app for every publication I read, every company I do business with. Apps are useful for things like the laundry machines in my building or using iNaturalist to figure out what kind of a plant I’m looking at, but they aren’t useful for everything.

Browsers work fine for reading publications.

I guarantee you that I don’t want to download an app for your hotel that automagically becomes my room key. I mean, I may stay at your hotel again if it’s necessary, but in truth I don’t want to have a relationship with you other than for the nights I’m actually spending there. 

When I buy things online, I often do sign up for the email list because they give me a discount. It’s not usually a big discount, but I end up doing it because it seems wrong not to save money. This is a mistake.

Email lists are the digital version of loyalty cards at retailers. As a result, I am bombarded with emails from places where I once bought something I needed. 

That doesn’t even count the ads I get for products I bought on one occasion.

The whole idea is to keep you coming back to that hotel or that store, to make you be a “loyal” customer.

I mean, I am actually loyal to businesses that I like. It has nothing to do with loyalty cards or deals. I am very attached to my grocery store, which is not the cheapest store around and has no loyalty program, but which set senior hours at a civilized hour early on in the pandemic, sells quality products, and is easy to shop at. 

There are several companies I will continue to order clothes from because I like the clothes. It doesn’t matter if they send me offers or not. 

I like going to my neighborhood coffee shop. I like a particular bookstore. I like my chocolate shop. I am extremely loyal to the place where we get heirloom flour. 

Sometimes a place where I’m a regular will give me a freebie, but that’s not why I do business with them. It’s because they actually appreciate my loyalty.

In the modern world, once you have any kind of relationship with some place online, you can never get rid of them. 

This is most obvious with political campaigns. Give money to one candidate one time and you’ll never have an empty email inbox.

Of course, this sort of thing was common before the Internet. I get plenty of snail mail from politicians and nonprofits because I once made the mistake of sending them a contribution. 

But the emails during the last election were so bad that I didn’t send money to some candidates I supported because I was so offended by getting four or five messages a day from them.

I mean, if I once sent you fifty dollars, I’m likely not rich enough to send you another fifty dollars tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Right now I’m highly irritated because a place where I took an online class three years ago cannot seem to remove me from their email list. I have unsubscribed multiple times. I even wrote an actual person and they assured me my name was off the list, but it wasn’t.

So no, I’m not going to register to read your site and I’m really not taking out a trial subscription or downloading your app.

I’m going to think twice — or maybe three or four times — before I enter into any more unending relationships.

5 thoughts on “Never-ending Relationships

  1. Sometimes I think that it’s the immediate turn around that gets me. I give $5, and three minutes later, as if I can hear the thought process through the ether, “Hey. she gave us $5! I’ll bet she’ll give us $5 again!”

    Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Certainly not if you don’t back off and let me breathe.

  2. THIS. And then there’s the inevitable hurt/guilting email: “We noticed you haven’t purchased anything in a while. This may be your last email from us…” (oh, if only. but they never stop…) As for the politicians and their ilk… I’ve just had it. EARN my freaking vote, don’t buy and sell it. If you really cannot get elected without people handing you money hand over fist then maybe you don’t have ideas that are good enough or you are simply bought and paid for and will do the bidding of your masters when you do get your mitts on any smidge of political power… and you can bet that I can’t give you enough $$$ to be amongst that number, so you won’t be helping ME…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *